Preparations for battle, specifically the Battleground pay-per-view, will be the foundation for the July 14 WWE Raw.
The undercard will receive attention, as will the story of The Authority looking to move the WWE title back to Randy Orton, Kane or Seth Rollins by way of his Money in the Bank contract. A challenge waits to be answered, and a Battle Royal needs more bodies.
Backstage reports point to at least one big name showing up at Virginia's Richmond Coliseum to join the fun.
Will Sting follow his longtime rival into the bright lights of Monday's Raw? The latest news may not be what his fanbase wants to hear.
Digging through James Wortman's five-point preview on WWE.com helps complete the picture of what to expect, as Raw invades the Virginia capital and WWE looks to finalize the Battleground card.
News, Potential Spoilers
Monday's Raw is set to feature a former WCW champ. There's a chance, albeit a slight one, that his archenemy appears too.
According to PWInsider's Mike Johnson, "Ric Flair is scheduled for Monday's Raw taping in Richmond VA and Tuesday's SmackDown taping in Fayetteville, NC." Johnson added that Flair will appear on WWE TV "semi-regularly leading into SummerSlam."
F4WOnline confirmed that Flair was booked for Monday's Raw.
There have been rumblings of The Nature Boy making his way back for a regular onscreen role for months, and now it appears that it's finally coming to fruition. He's already been working house shows, including one at Madison Square Garden on July 12, per PWTorch.
The biggest question regarding the former world champ's return will be what he'll be up to once he's back.
Whether Flair starts managing The Miz or working with Dolph Ziggler, whom he told Mike Mooneyham of The Post and Courier would "be a great guy to manage," is not the hottest topic pre-Monday's Raw, though. The biggest news belongs to Sting.
The former WCW and TNA star tweeted a cryptic message that kickstarted the rumor mill:
07.14.14— Sting (@Sting) July 8, 2014
Does The Stinger writing the date of Monday's Raw indicate that he'll be on the show? Does it mean that Sting will finally be headed to WWE? Sort of.
Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t WrestlingInc) reports that Sting is not yet signed, but that fans tuning in to see him won't be disappointed. Meltzer reported earlier on F4WOnline (h/t WrestlingInc) that WWE would likely release a video of Sting on the Internet or on Monday's Raw itself.
Perhaps it will be a vignette hyping his eventual debut or just something promoting the upcoming WWE 2K15 video game. A week before Battleground feels like an odd time to introduce Sting as a member of the roster.
That goes for a trio of NXT prospects as well.
According to PWInsider (h/t WrestlingInc) Sami Zayn, Charlotte and Adrian Neville from NXT will be working both Raw and SmackDown this week. That will likely just mean that the fans in attendance will get some spectacular dark matches with an NXT flavor.
Even if it's unlikely, fans of Zayn and Neville will be hoping that they surprise everyone as entrants in the Battleground Battle Royal.
Battleground Final Touches
As of now, there are 13 Superstars officially entered in the Intercontinental Championship Battle Royal. Monday's Raw should see the company round that number out some.
Wortman states in the WWE.com preview, "Look for some new names to be announced this week."
Zack Ryder, Sin Cara, The Miz and Adam Rose remain on the bench for now. Perhaps Monday's Raw will offer them a chance to be part of that match.
The folks in charge of making decisions as to who makes the field will be in attendance. After another vacation, The Authority will be back to run the show.
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon's focus will be on the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, not the IC title, though. In the five-point preview, Wortman asks, "What plans will the power couple concoct to ensure that WWE's grandest prize is held by an Authority ally?"
Fans may get to see those plans during a tag match that combines the Superstars from the Fatal 4-Way for the WWE title and a grudge match between former members of The Shield. Dean Ambrose, John Cena and Roman Reigns will battle Orton, Kane and Rollins.
This is a prime opportunity for Triple H and his cohorts to do something dastardly to Cena and Reigns. Expect there to be some tension between those two allies as well, though.
Wortman writes the following on the WWE.com preview: "The question on Raw might not be whether Reigns will dominate in this Six-Man Tag Team Match, but if he can actually coexist with the bearer of WWE's most coveted title six nights before the biggest opportunity in his career."
On last week's Raw, Cena and Reigns stood celebrating in the center of the ring to close the show. It was an uneasy alliance at best.
As much as they are supposed to be on the same side, pursuing the WWE crown makes any partnership between them a fleeting one.
Fans in Richmond will also see WWE amp up the tension between rivals in recently announced matches. The Battleground card grew over the last few days, adding Bray Wyatt vs. Chris Jericho, Paige vs. AJ Lee, The Usos vs. The Wyatt Family and Ambrose vs. Rollins.
Count on seeing collisions that bring these narratives closer to their climaxes.
Paige and AJ were on good terms last week, forming a winning team. It's unclear how WWE will spin this tale forward with so little time left—or even whether champion and challenger will get enough screen time.
The catfighting between Layla and Summer Rae may take precedence. Those two women are featured in the five-point preview, not AJ and Paige.
Chances are that Battleground adds one more bout as well. Last week, Zeb Colter challenged Rusev to meet his client Jack Swagger at the pay-per-view.
Human wrecking balls don't generally back down from challenges. Look for that clash between powerhouses to be on the card by night's end.
It promises to be a Raw heavy with struggles for pre-Battleground momentum and fans shouting "Wooo!"
Throughout all of that, fans will be waiting to see what form Sting's potential appearance takes. It just better not be Damien Sandow putting on face paint and a wig.